He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
(Mark 2: 13-14 ESV)
Not only that Jesus can forgive sins, in fact he’s calling sinner to be His disciple! Tax collector at that time is one of the worst profession according to the law teachers, they’re seen as traitors to the Jews as they collect money for Roman authority. But Jesus doesn’t see that, he calls people to repent and follow Him :)
Levi in the end is the one who writes the account of Jesus, the book of Matthew :)
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
(Mark 2:9-12, ESV)
It’s true that forgiveness of sin is man’s greater need rather than just a temporary physical healing, however just to prove to the teachers of the law, Jesus healed the paralytic to show that he has the authority given by God. Also, notice that this is the first time that Jesus calls himself the Son of Man in the book of Mark. These words can mean that Jesus is the true descendant of Adam ruling over creation within God’s sovereign and total rule. Jesus is the true fulfilment of the Son of Man unlike Adam. :)
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them,“Why do you question these things in your hearts?”
Mark 2:5-8 ESV
Over the previous event we have seen how Jesus had the authority over demon and sickness, and here we see that Jesus’ authority is way beyond that. He has the authority to forgive someone’s trespasses. And this event also shows that Jesus’ main priority for this world is not a mere healing of physical body, but something more grave, the healing of heart.
I guess it’s not hard to get this logic
God forgives sin
Jesus forgives sin
Jesus = God ?
Even I who’s math logic is horrible can tell this equation ;) Pity that it’s hard for the Scribes to see this fact.
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. (Mark 2:1-4 ESV)
What a faith from the paralytic’s friend to even remove someone’s rooftop because they believe Jesus can heal their friend :)
But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
(Mark 1:45 ESV)
The leper was given only one job to do, to not speak about his healing to others but to report to the priest so that he can be declared clean first to follow Moses’ law. But instead he told everyone, because of what he’s done a lot of people only find Jesus just for healing, not for what Jesus’s true purpose, the healing of sin, not just a healing of the body!
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
(Mark 1:40-44 ESV)
Leprosy is not a common disease back then, and not just a normal illness. Having leprosy in the community of Israel means expulsion form Israelites community. They will be put outside the community, and are not allowed to be touched for fearing that the illness will infect other people. No one will want to touch them, and they will have to warn people whenever they’re around by crying “unclean, unclean.”
He is a leprous man, he is unclean. The priest must pronounce him unclean; his disease is on his head.
The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.
(Leviticus 13:44-46 ESV)
So Jesus’ act of healing the man with leprosy is not just a mere healing, but also shows his mercy and willingness to accept someone who is sick and rejected!
Jesus also told him to report back to the priest, just like what Moses commanded in the book of Leviticus chapter 14.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)
While normal superstar would love the public attention and their popularity, Jesus is different. Throughout the book of Mark we’ll see this pattern of Jesus withdrawing from the crowd to a solitary place. Instead of building a permanent strong follower base, he goes to pray and stay true to his mission which is to preach about the good news from God. :)